Uzume. Goddess of joy happiness and good health in shinto religion. Uzume danced to bring the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu back from her cave ensuring the return of spring sunshine bringing life and fertility.
Amaterasu's brother the storm god Susano'o among other things had vandalized her rice fields and brutally killed one of her maidens due to a quarrel between them. Amaterasu became furious with him and retreated into the Heavenly Rock Cave Amano-Iwato. The world without the sun became dark and the gods could not lure Amaterasu out of her hiding place.
The clever Uzume overturned a tub near the cave entrance and began to dance on it tearing off her clothing in front of the other deities. They considered this so comical that they laughed heartily at the sight. This dance is said to have founded the Japanese ritual dance Kagura.
Uzume hung a bronze mirror and a beautiful jewel on a tree. Amaterasu heard them and peered out to see what the commotion was about. When she opened the cave she saw the jewel and her reflection in a mirror and slowly came out from her hiding spot. One god closed the cave behind her so that she could no longer retreat. Another god tied a magic shimenawa across the entrance. The deities then asked Amaterasu to rejoin the divine. She agreed and light was restored to the earth.
Uzume is still worshiped today as a Shinto kami spirits indigenous to Japan. She is also known as Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto The Great Persuader and The Heavenly Alarming Female. She is depicted in ky?gen as Okame a woman who revels in her sensuality.
Her dance Kagura is typically performed as a prayer and thanks to indigenous deities for bountiful harvests. Hence I have decorated the bottom of her dress with rice plant and other flowers because its thanks to her that the sun was restored and all life could continue to thrive! Her kimono belt resembles that of Japan flag as well as the sun again tieing her to this famous story.
Not many of you know but I majored in japanese language and culture in university and have a BA degree in Asian Studies. ?? So this was a nice throwback for me. I really hope you like this one! ??